The scramble to sort out the ramifications of Monday’s rainout, realistic or supposed, surged through Kauffman Stadium from almost the instant the postponement of game three of the American League Championship Series was announced.
The most tangible inquiries were about how it would affect pitching rotations and bullpen deployment.
The most intangible concern was the psychological game-within-the-game in a series the Royals lead 2-0 with the cushion of three straight home games ahead.
It might be surmised that the Orioles could benefit the most from this, an extra day to bust up the Royals’ mojo or voodoo or whatever other forces have generated this surge to a 6-0 postseason.
It might be considered, too, that the extra day could give the Orioles more time to absorb and stew in the words of Royals’ outfielder Jarrod Dyson, who suggested Saturday that even the Orioles don’t expect the series to return to Baltimore.
But for public consumption, anyway, the Orioles didn’t seem much engaged in the words of Dyson.
“Who? … Whatever,” said reliever Tommy Hunter, before letting out a playful “roar” at about the decibel level of a yawn.
Dyson’s words, catcher Nick Hundley said, have made no ripples at all.
“You think we need motivation to try to get to the World Series?” he said.
Then again, designated hitter Nelson Cruz did offer a little jab back.
He smiled and disagreed with the suggestion the Orioles won’t be returning to Baltimore and added, “They’re coming back, too.”
If so, though, it won’t be because of any emotional fallout from a rainout.
Much as Orioles manager Buck Showalter would like to embrace the suggestion this was a boost for his team, the truth is: The only discernible impact either way will be the one known in hindsight by however the game plays out Tuesday.
“I appreciate you throwing it out there. … No, I don’t think so,” Showalter said. “I think, if anything, it’s great for the restaurant business in Kansas City.”
In more ways than one, apparently.
Orioles reliever Zach Britton said he expected to venture out to what he still knows as Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Que, calling it “our spot. We love it. … People like coming here just because the food’s good, the people are nice.”
So the 24-hour delay, ultimately, is just that, not necessarily an offering of a cosmic reset button as a reprieve for the Orioles.
Hunter seemed to want to roll with the idea, too.
But … he couldn’t.
“I wish I had a better answer, (like) ‘We’re going to get ‘em tomorrow, man,’” he said, swinging his arm for effect.
The point is less that the Orioles don’t think they are gaining anything with the extra day than that they believed they were ready Monday.
“When something’s not going your way, you want to go back out there and work on it. You want to play,” first baseman Steve Pearce said.
And as far as they’re concerned, they’re just a game from reversing the trajectory of all this.
“One pitch, one hitter, one inning can change the course of the whole series, and we understand that,” Britton said. “We’ve seen that happen with us (and) against us, so we understand that’s the way things work in baseball.”
Or as Cruz put it: “You stay in the present and focus on what you can focus (on) and control.”
Which is the next game, a day later but no less pivotal to the series.
If the Orioles muster a win, the pendulum of momentum ticks back the other way some.
If they lose, they face the other part of Dyson’s prophecy: being down 3-0 and finding it a lot harder to believe.
But the taunts aren’t going to be any more present tomorrow than they would have been Monday.
“We’re not too concerned with what he’s saying over there,” Britton said. “He’s trying to get his team jacked up. It is what it is. They should be confident, right? They’ve played some good games.
“But we’re not going to let what he says dictate the way that we go out and play. We understand that things can happen quickly in the game, so you don’t let your highs get too high or your lows get too low.”
Even with more time to absorb it.
“There’s a lot of things you can control, and there’s a lot you can’t control: This is one of them,” Hundley said.
For better or for worse?
Find out tonight.
To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @vgregorian. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.